Klaus Moeltner




Ph.D. Economics, University of Washington, 2000

M.A. Economics, University of Washington, 1998

M.A. International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1994

M.S. Environmental Planning & Engineering,

University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vienna, Austria, 1990


Dr. Moeltner is an expert in environmental economics, specifically the valuation of natural resources and amenities, and related econometric methods. He has worked on recreation demand, wildfire smoke and health, urban water use, energy reliability and housing market studies involving risks of coastal flooding, watershed restoration, and the effects of forest damage. He has published 30 articles and several book chapters, and contributed to over $3 million in grants as PI or Co-PI. He serves as a co-editor, editorial board member, and reviewer for leading journals in the field.

The economic benefits of improving water quality in river systems

We use new survey methodology and online labor markets to find out how people value better water quality throughout a large watershed in the Northeast, and if these values are sensitive to the type of policy interventions that bring about the improvements. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Urban stream restoration and property values

We examine if watershed restoration projects in the Portland, OR, area have impacted the value of nearby residential properties, using innovative econometric matching methods. Funded by USDA / NIFA.


Watershed restoration: Downstream benefits to home owners

For the same watershed in Portland, OR, we investigate the benefits of restoration projects to downstream homeowners. Funded by the U.S. Forest Service.


Coastal flood hazards and Northeast housing values

We examine the impact on property values of being located in a high-risk coastal flood zone along the New England seaboard. We also take a closer look at the effect of human-made protective structures, such as seawalls, on home values. Funded by the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium.


Households' vulnerability to power outages and attitudes towards an expanded power grid

For a large sample of European households we examine their willingness-to-pay to avoid power outages, as well as their willingness to accept electricity-related infrastructure near their residence. We project how these values and attitudes might evolve in light of climate change. Funded by the European Union and the Province of Upper Austria.


Optimal labor contracts for online workers

We collaborate with remote sensing experts to hire online workers via Amazon's Mechanical Turk workplace to interpret satellite images for clouds and cloud shadow. This will help foresters identify untainted images suitable for further analysis of forest health and change over time. Funded by the U.S. Geological Survey.


Forest pests and home values

Much of the American West is impacted by explosive populations of the native Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB), and resulting large-scale damage to forestlands. Our research focuses on the impact of diseased trees on home values, and how sensitive these values are to errors in geocoding of properties and in localized damage assessment via aerial detection surveys.


Residential outdoor water use

In several ongoing projects in the Reno, NV, area we examine the impact of outdoor watering policies on households' compliance and water use, controlling for peer effects and length of residence. Future efforts will take a closer look at the role of Home Owners' Organizations (HOAs) on water use and conservation. Funded by local water utilities.

Courses Taught

  • AAEC/ECON 5126 - Empirical Economics, (second semester of PhD econometrics sequence)
  • AAEC 6524 - Environmental Economic Theory and Policy
  • AAEC/ECON/STAT 6564 - Bayesian Econometric Analysis

Other Teaching and Advising

  • Chair / Co-chair for 3 PhD dissertations
  • Committee member for 4 PhD committees
  • Committee member for 1 MS committee



Academic Employment

  • Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech (Current)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech (2011-2015)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2006 –2010)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2000 - 2006)

Other Professional Experience

  • Visiting Scholar, Luskin Center for Innovation, School of Public Affairs, UCLA (Aug-Dec. 2010)
  • Visiting Instructor, Free University, Amsterdam (Dec. 2009)
  • Visiting Instructor, University of Innsbruck (June 2008, 2009)
  • Technical specialist, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1994-1996


Best paper published in Environmental and Resource Economics during 2014, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE)

Advisor, best Master's Thesis 2014 (by Jed Cohen), Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA)


Selected recent publications

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (forthcoming).  Linking the Value of Energy Reliability to the Acceptance of Energy Infrastructure: Evidence from the EU, Resource and Energy Economics 

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (forthcoming). An Empirical Analysis of Local Opposition to new Transmission Lines across the EU-27, Energy Journal, 37(3) 

Cohen, J., C. Blinn, K. Boyle, T. Holmes, K. Moeltner (2016). Hedonic Valuation with Translating Commodities: Mountain Pine Beetles and Host Trees in the Colorado Front Range. Environmental and Resource Economics, 63(3), 613-642 

Vinoles, V., K. Moeltner, S. Stoddard (2015). Length of Residency and Water Use in an Arid Urban Environment, Water Resources and Economics, 12(Oct.), 52-66 

Yu , L., S. B. Ball, C. E. Blinn, K. Moeltner, S. Peery, V.A. Thomas, R. H. Wynne (2015). CloudSourcing: Using an Online Labor Force to Detect Clouds and Cloud Shadows in Landsat Images. Remote Sensing, 7(3), 2334-2351 

Castledine, A., K. Moeltner, M.K. Price, S. Stoddard (2014), Free to Choose:  Promoting Conservation by Relaxing Outdoor Watering Restrictions. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 107(A), 324-343 

Johnston, R., K. Moeltner, (2014). Meta-Modeling and Benefit Transfer: The Empirical Relevance of Source-Consistency in Welfare Measures. Environmental and Resource Economics. 59, 337-361 

Moeltner, K, R.S. Rosenberger, (2014). Cross-Context Benefit Transfer: A Bayesian Search for Information Pools. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2), 469-488 

Moeltner, K, M.K. Kim, E. Zhu, W. Yang, (2013). Wildfire Smoke and Health Impacts: A Closer Look at Fire Attributes and their Marginal Effects. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 66(3), 476--496 

Kobayashi, M., K. Moeltner, K. Rollins, (2012). Latent Thresholds Analysis of Choice Data under Value Uncertainty. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 94(1), p. 189-208

Moeltner K., R. von Haefen, (2011).  Microeconometric Strategies for Dealing with Unobservables and Endogenous Variables in Recreation Demand Models.  Annual Review of Resource Economics, 3, p.375-396

Dekker T., R, Brouwer, M. Hofkes, K. Moeltner, (2011). The Effect of Risk Context on the Value of a Statistical Life: A Bayesian Meta-model. Environmental and Resource Economics, 49, p.597-624

Moeltner, K., J. S. Shonkwiler, (2010). Intercept and Recall: Examining Avidity Carryover in On-Site Collected Trip Reports. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 15(7), p.418-427

Davis A., K. Moeltner, (2010). Valuing the Prevention of an Infestation: The Threat of the New Zealand Mud Snail in Northern Nevada. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 39 (1), p.56-74.

Moeltner, K., R. Johnston, R. S. Rosenberger, J. M. Duke, (2009). Benefit Transfer from Multiple Contingent Experiments: A Flexible Two Step Model Combining Individual Choice Data with Community Characteristics. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 91 (5), p. 1335-42.

Moeltner, K., R. Woodward (2009). Meta-Functional Benefit Transfer for Wetland Valuation: Making the Most of Small Samples. Environmental and Resource Economics, 42 (1), p. 89-109.

Moeltner, K., R. S. Rosenberger (2008), Meta-Regression and Benefit Transfer: Data Space, Model Space, and the Quest for 'Optimal Scope'. B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 8 (1), Contributions.

Moeltner, K., K.J. Boyle, R. W. Paterson (2007). Meta-Analysis and Benefit-Transfer for Resource Valuation: Addressing Classical Challenges with Bayesian Modeling. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 53 (2), p.250 – 269.

Curtis, K. R., K. Moeltner, (2007). Consumer Risk Perception and Purchase Propensity for Genetically Modified Foods in Romania. Agribusiness. 23 (2), p. 263-278.

Curtis, K. R., K. Moeltner, (2006). Genetically Modified Food Market Participation and Consumer Risk Perceptions: A Cross-Country Comparison. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 54(2), p. 289-310.

Englin, J. E., J. McDonald, K. Moeltner, (2006). Valuing Ancient Forest Ecosystems: An Analysis of Backcountry Hiking in Jasper National Park. Ecological Economics. 57, (4), p. 665-678.


Book Chapters

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2016). Electricity Supply Security, Service Valuation and Public Perception of Energy Infrastructures, in Protecting Electricity Networks form Natural Hazards, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), p.36-44. 

K. Moeltner (2015).  Optimal Scope and Bayesian Model Search in Benefit Transfer, in Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values:  A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners, R. J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R. S. Rosenberger, and R. Brouwer, eds., Springer Publishing.

K. Moeltner, J. J. Murphy,  J. K. Stranlund, and M.A. Velez (2011).  Institutional Heterogeneity in Social Dilemma Games: A Bayesian Examination, in Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, J. List and M. Price, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing.

Layton, D. F., K. Moeltner (2005). The Cost of Power Outages to Heterogeneous Households - An Application of the Gamma-Lognormal Distribution,  in Applications of Simulation Methods in Environmental and Resource Economics, R. Scarpa and A. Alberini, eds., Springer Publishing, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Klaus Moeltner
  • (540) 231-8249
  • moeltner@vt.edu
  • 250 Drillfield Dr.
    312 Hutcheson Hall
    Blacksburg, VA 24061